ATTN: SuperMarioSak

Hi SuperMarioSak,

I wanted to get your opinion on the new koyo place you recommended. Is it clean, is it in a safe location? etc etc. Can you give me any more details about the place other than what it shows on the website? Thanks

wow thanks. If you have anymore suggestions could you please post them. thanks

Guys - there are lots of chanko places in Tokyo. Here's one I have eaten at that's actually owned by real sumo people:

Terao Chanko
2-11-2, Ishihara, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

And a Hawaiian place that may or may not still be there. Also owned by a retired pro from Hawaii.

Morikawa Bldg. B1, 3-15-24 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

SuperMario - At Terao, the food is authentic. I believe that at least some of the cooks are former sumotori - the best chanko cooks are always former lower-ranked guys who spent years doing this stuff. My former sensei never got past makushita - although that is a huge achievement in itself - and he was magical with the chanko pot. He even wanted to set up a chanko place in Hawaii. Each stable has different styles of chanko - no two heya make it the same way. But the restaurant Terao's owner is the brother of the oyakata who runs Izutsu stable, as well as the popular former sekitori Terao. Chances are the food is really, really close to the chanko eaten at Izutsu.

Most of the people who eat at the chanko places are fans. The only time you see real big-time sumos is if they're coming in to have special appearances for big sponsors. Smaller-time sumotori usually don't eat at these places because 1. they cook and eat this stuff at the stable and 2. they can't afford it. You might run into a few retired ones though.

The Ryogoku area near the Kokugikan is the best place to run into sumotori. You can see them at the train stations in and near Ryogoku, at places like McDonald's, Wendy's or KFC (between 5-8 p.m.), at a big-and-tall men's shop (Lion is the one I used to shop at), or at the pachinko places in the area.

If you wish, it might be better to see them at morning practice (keiko). Right now, though, they're on an overseas trip to Korea, so there isn't much activity.

Another place to eat chanko in Tokyo is Daishoho Restaurant near Nihon University, which is home to the greatest amateur sumo club in the land. Anyone can train there.

Daishoho was a great amateur yokozuna from Nihon U. who went pro and had a pretty nice pro career too. He died of cancer in December 1999. Nice guy.

HEY! I've stayed at Hotel New Koyo 3 times so far, it's easily the cheapest hotel in Tokyo.

V small rooms, there are showers on the ground floor that are open for only a certain amount of time a day but you get TV (normally with a video too) in every room and the staff are very friendly. Some of the more permanent residents are pretty weird tho but I've not had any bad experiences there.

Don't expect to sleep in tho as the cleaning staff are extremely noisy.

It's not too far from the tube station but Minowa (the station name if I remember correctly) is not that easy to get to many places in Tokyo, expect 1hr+ journeys in some cases.

As far as safe, well, it's in quite a run down area but all you might get is a few drunken old men trying to talk to you because you're a foreigner, like he said, Japan is very safe.